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Thrilling finals mark Independence Day

The Independence Cup finals were held on Vanuatu’s Independence Day, a day when the nation commemorates 34 years of freedom from British and French rule.
Vanuatu Prime Minister, the Honourable Joe Natuman believes Independence Day provides an opportunity for everyone to relfect on how far nation has come.
“It’s very important. It’s a time where we got rid of the colonial powers and got our independence in 1980, so it’s an important occasion for everybody in Vanuatu, including those in the Highlands,” he says.
“Vanuatu has come a long way. Those who have studied Vanuatu history [will know] we had two colonial powers, two administrations, two everything else – two education systems, two health systems, two police systems.
“We have managed to bring everyone together nationally in what is important, unify all the various systems. One independent united government of the Republic of Vanuatu, and we have created our own currency, the Vatu, we have our own airline, our own national time. We’ve come a long way.”
The Independence Cup is the football communities way of celebrating this occasion and there was plenty of action to keep the fans entertained.
In the men’s U-20 competition Erakor Golden Star came out hard and fast in search of their first title at this level.
Tony Kaltack and Kalotang Tonly were the heroes of the afternoon as they recorded a brace apiece. Also adding to the tally was Toukone Robert.
Ifira found themselves with a few chances to score in the second half but those opportunities amounted to nothing as the five-goal challenge laid down by Erakor proved too big to overcome.
Representing tournament sponsor Wilco Hardware was sales manager Robinson Natoivia who said the company was proud to be playing a part in the development of football in Vanuatu.
“On behalf of the managers, staff and customers I want to congratulate Erakor for a great win, and may they continue to play this kind of classic football when the season starts next month,” he said.
Vanuatu Academy U-17 beat Lakotau 3-1 to claim third place.
In the the senior men’s division it was an equally thrilling match as Shepherds United and Santos rallied throughout the first half to enter the break locked a 0-0.
It took a 50th minute goal from Santino Mermer to finally open proceedings and give Shepherds United the advantage they’d been hoping for.
Two more goals were fired home from Takaro and Ivon August late in the piece to extend their lead and earn the Independence Cup title for 2014.
For more on Vanuatu football go to www.vanuafoot.vu

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